The September Project Blog

Come here to learn about the goings-on of The September Project, a grassroots effort to foster public events in all communities on September 11.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

teen rights

this one is good. smart, compelling, and cool. all of the ingredients for a good teen program. rock on!

The September Project meets Teen Read Week!

I'm a teen librarian in Franklin Park, IL, and this year's Teen Read Week theme inspired my idea for our contribution to the September Project. The theme this year is "Get Real," and the September Project part is a display called "Get Real About Your Rights." It will be all about civil liberties and rights and how they do and don't apply to minors--everything from student free speech rights to Title IX to the legality of locker searches, etc., etc. The display (along with a selection of books) will go up on September 10th and stay up through Teen Read Week, October 16-22.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

kids around the world

today i'm gathering event descriptions in preparation for posting them to the web site. the list isn't in any particular order, and when i read a description from israel, and then from tennesee (usa), i was reminded of how special it is that people--in this case, kids--from distant corners of the world will be sharing this day at their neighborhood libraries. children will learn about their rights, read books that were once banned, learn about important historical events, create images of the world at peace, and so much more.

here are the 2 descriptions that inspired me today:

Beit Barbor library (Israel)
We are glad to be a part of this wonderful project. Nice to read the messages and learn from it. We at Beit Barbor public library started the big show. As you know we emphasis on children rights, our graphic department made the "Israel's children rights statement". The statement specifies the rights, for an example: the rights for security, the right for expressing himself and so on. In addition there is a big invitation to the children asking them to create on this matter, to write short stories that explain those rights or to take a picture or to paint. We also address the public elementary school near us; hopefully there will also take a part in this important issue.

Jacksboro Public Library
(Tennessee, USA)
Jacksboro Public Library will incorporate two We the People Bookshelf grants into our observance of The September Project 2005. The primary focus will be to gather young people at a public place to share ideas and discuss freedom, democracy, citizenship, and patriotism.

We will have a youth display of all We the People Bookshelf selections on both “Freedom” and “Courage”. We will advertise our observance and displays via distribution of flyers to schools, malls, grocery stores, handouts at the library, and announcements on local radio/TV stations, articles in newspapers and via the library’s web page.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

50 states

today marked a momentus occasion: libraries from all 50 states are now represented on the map of participants. we are SO pleased to welcome libraries from Idaho, Montana, and Nevada! thanks to everyone for their support of the project, and thanks to everyone who posted their event descriptions on the listserv. today was full of activity on the listserv, which is so much fun! look soon to see more events added to the events page on the web site--there's a lot more!

youth programs in colorado

a library director just shared her library's program for the september project with our project listerv. she introduced her library's plans by saying it's "an idea worth sharing." she's right. here's what she said:

During the week of Sept 11, our youth department will create a bulletin board display with the stripes of the American flag, allowing kids to create their own stars with their wishes for peace and freedom.

i admire the simplicity of this program. kids understand flags, especially their nation's flag, and encouraging them to decorate their flag with thoughts and dreams of peace is truly magical. and important.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

illinois, israel, and iceland.

when i awoke this morning, this is the first stream that entered my mind.

last night i showed the map of participants to a friend and she asked what library the blue pin in the far northern region of the map marked. i enjoyed crying out, "Iceland!" i've received quite a geography lesson this year, and hearing from libraries in such disparate regions like israel and illinois has been (and continues to be) a joy.

all of the event descriptions i've received are now posted on our web site. please check it out! if you don't see your library's event, send a description to info at


Monday, August 22, 2005

Calling all Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and West Virginia librarians!

Within the US, the project is growing quickly, and there are participating libraries in 46 states and DC.

We are eager to correspond with any and all librarians from four states: Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and West Viriginia. If you are reading this from one of these four states, please contact us! And if you know a librarian who lives and thrives in one of these four states, please forward our url ( to them. Feel free to place me in the CC!

We look forward to working with libraries in all 50 states plus DC.

Friday, August 19, 2005

a month-long reflection

While some people assume only large library systems have the resources to create programs that make a lasting impact on their communities, I've always looked to the smaller libraries to stand out in the crowd. Not to say that large systems aren't doing amazing things--I think small libraries have always appealed to me. It's probably a combination of my Midwestern roots, love for wide open spaces, and my time working with libraries. Regardless, there's no doubt this library in rural Oregon is doing pretty inspired stuff. Here is what the library director wrote:

Harney County Library is the lone library in Harney County, Oregon--a county that is over 10,000 square miles with only a 7500 population. However, we feel strongly about what's going on in the world and feel that the whole month of September should be designated for our contribution to the September Project. Our participation will be by way of an interactive display called "Mending Fences," a fence structure with poems and images tied to it. Viewers will be invited to add their own words or images that reveal their feelings about the current state of the world, their country and home. Since we are all citizens of the world we should all have the right to speak up on her behalf. Thank you for this opportunity for personal reflection and response on a topic that is difficult to quantify.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

children's art exhibit

The Booker Health Sciences Library at the Jersey Shore University Medical Center is sponsoring an art exhibit in conjunction with The September Project, called: Celebrating America through the Eyes of a Child.

The library will be collecting artwork and poetry from employee's children in grades 1 - 8 to display in the library and in the hallways of the Medical Center beginning the weekend of September 11. The artwork can be a drawing, painting, collage, poem or any other style that demonstrates how the child feels about our country and the freedoms, rights and privileges they enjoy. The library staff is supplying the paper. All participants will receive a flag pin and be entered into prize drawings.

Children can teach us quite a bit about the world around us. I'm so pleased this medical library is taking advantage of their valuable perspectives.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

school programs

September Project participants have been largely public libraries, so when a school library signs up, I'm particularly excited and interested in what they are planning. Today I heard from a librarian at MacArthur Elementary School, a school library in Binghamton, New York. Rather than attempt to describe their event, I'll let the librarian describe it:

"As an inner city school library, we are in a unique position to reach our community in a positive way. We plan to have a Peace Day on September 9, 2005, the Friday before 9/11. Parents and local celebrities and storytellers will be invited to read aloud to our K-5 students in the library, using peace tales. This event will be an integral part of our Character Education program at MacArthur. Our signature school story, A Bundle of Sticks, from Persia, first told in the aftermath of 9/11 by our librarian, Mrs. Pierce, will be retold. Children will be asked how THEY help create peace in their classroom and in their homes."

I love how Mrs. Pierce is including this program in their Character Education program. I can't think of a better lesson to learn than how to create peace. Beautiful.

Monday, August 08, 2005

voter education in Minneapolis

As I've mentioned many times, corresponding with librarians is the best part of my job. I get to hear so many amazing and inspired ideas librarians are crafting into innovative programs for their communities. As I compile all of them to include on the web site, I'm hoping to be organized enough to highlight them here, too. Please check the web site often for updates to the event ideas list.

One such notable program is coming from the Minneapolis Public Library (MPL). This year, along with local organizations and nonprofits, they are creating an impressive Voter Education Project. The library is collaborating with local groups such as Getting to the Bottom of the Ballot (GetBoB), Kids Voting Minneapolis, League of Women Voters of Minneapolis, and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. This impressive group is working together to develop content for a print and online nonpartisan voter guide for the Minneapolis city election coming up in September. Information posted on the MPL web site will be in Spanish, Somali, and Hmong. My favorite part of the guide is the "How to Evaluate a Candidate" section. One of the many lessons I learned while at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was that librarians not only know how to find information, but they understand how to evaluate it, too. Kudos to everyone involved in this comprehensive project!

This effort by the library and local organizations provides a valuable resource to the community and also forges long standing relationships and collaborations that create a stronger community and define the library as the place to be more informed on all aspects of daily life. It is encouraging that libraries continue to evolve in the ways they promote and expand information literacy. Libraries are vital to our growth as individuals, as nations, and as global citizens, and it makes me proud that a national institution offers fundamental resources on how to be active in understanding, protecting, and furthering our rights as citizens.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

sharing events

There has been a lot of activity with The September Project this week, and I've had the pleasure of talking with many librarians from all over the U.S. I've heard from libraries in Colorado collaborating with League of Women Voters and City Council members to offer voter registration and information. A librarian from Edmonds Community College in Washington is planning an interfaith discussion that explores religions and how to achieve a greater understanding and acceptance of religious and cultural difference. Another library in Arizona is asking students and faculty to consider what democracy means to them. Such a range of programs!

Hearing from librarians is the best part of my job. I look forward to hearing more inspiring stories and will share more soon. Look for these examples and more on our web site!